The Duck Dinner has been taking place every year, without fail, for the past 36 years, and last weekend I had the privilege of attending my third. In over three and a half decades, the multi-course feast has never repeated themes (rumor has it that a large binder containing every menu since its inception exists), although they tend to have a strong French influence.
Last year was very Julia Child -- fig and pate spread, mussels with minted Greek yogurt, duck breasts with roasted endive tarts -- while the previous year was upscale rustic. The location had been moved to Sid and Michelle's gorgeous cabin in the Adirondacks and the menu aptly reflected its surroundings: duck burgers on homemade brioche buns with heirloom tomato ketchup, roasted fingerlings with crème fraiche and caviar, deviled eggs with salmon roe, and s'mores made with entirely homemade elements.
Finding a way to blow everyone's socks off each year seems like a daunting task but, once again, Eric managed just that. The theme of 2010, South of the Border, was fresh and exciting. And the inventive menu, we later figured out, contained some sort of pepper in every course, save the margarita sorbet palate cleanser. ¡Muy delicioso!
So without further ado, I give you the 2010 Duck Dinner.
Little peppers stuffed with herbed white beans
Sweet potato chips with guacamole
Raw oysters with mignonette sauce
Green corn soup
Empanadillas 3 ways: BBQ pork, fish and fruit
Sombreros: fresh pasta sheets with truffled mushrooms, truffle cream and two pepper sauces
Lime margarita ice
Sliced duck with chipotle sauce and polenta
Local lettuces with sherry vinaigrette and edible flowers; homemade potato rolls
Mexican sundae with 2 types of homemade vanilla bean ice cream, caramelized plantains with rum glaze, sweet mole sauce, whipped cream and roasted pecans
Chocolate espresso torta with cinnamon